Sunday, 8 September 2013

Pregnancy after miscarriage

For those of you who didn't know..... I'm pregnant! And safely in the second trimester :)

But oh man, pregnancy after miscarriage- it's hard, I'm not gonna lie. The first 12 weeks really were a rollercoster of emotion, hope, despair, belief and doubt.

Here is my story.

So, I had an inkling I was pregnant again, around the end of June. My period was late, but then it was the month directly after a miscarriage (I miscarried in early June), so I couldn't be sure if it was late or just taking it's sweet time as it can do after these things.

So for about two weeks I waited for it. Honestly I kinda just wanted my period to come. But as the days passed I began to suspect more and more. 

I really didn't want to take a pregnancy test. I knew I would be excited, but I also knew I would be consumed with fear. So for about two weeks I lived in denial and tried not to think about it.

I decided that I would take a pregnancy test when I started bleeding, just so if it was a miscarriage, I would know and I could get referred to the hospital clinic for recurrent miscarriage.

My Dad came to stay with us for a few days. And lo and behold, at this time when I wanted to be able to keep things together and enjoy the time with my Dad, I started bleeding. So, I took the test (hoping it was a negative and this was just my period), and BAM it came up positive straight away. So, I believed I was starting to have another miscarriage.

Oh man, that was so hard. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry and cry, but I really felt the need to hold it together in front of my Dad. I did tell him what was happening, but didn't allow myself to break down. I prayed desperately 'please God, let this bleeding stay away till after he is gone and I can grieve properly.'

Well, my Dad left a few days later, and the bleeding had stopped altogether. I wasn't sure what to think. I was on that rollercoaster again, not knowing whether to hope or not. I went to the doctors and she ordered me a blood test. She didn't hold out much hope (she started telling me all about the miscarriage clinic), but she said if my pregnancy hormone was over 1500 I could get a scan. The highest my pregnancy hormone has been with my two prior pregnancies was 350.

I got the blood test. And got a phone call two days later- my pregnancy hormone was at 29,000! I couldn't believe it, that was SUCH an amazing number. But the thing about these hormones is that you have to get tested a few days apart to check they are rising. So I got another blood test a few days later and my hormone had gone up to 50,000! This was SO amazing. At about this time I began to have hope and believe this could be real.

During this time I had worked out roughly how far along I was. I lost my two previous babies at about 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 weeks. So reaching and passing those milestones in this pregnancy was a great feeling.

A few days after the blood tests I had a scan. All my scans before had shown nothing. So, I was fearful of this scan. Matt came with me. In the car I was feeling so, so scared. I prayed 'God, please let this be ok. But please don't let this be ambiguous. Let this scan clearly show a yes or a no.'
(I had had ambiguity with a pregnancy before and it was not a nice feeling.)
Matt prayed with me as we drove, and I walked into the scan with a sort of 'what will be will be,' feeling.

We got into the scan. And as soon as she put the scanner on my belly, I saw it. I knew this was real. Our little baby was tiny (1cm) but alive- she could see it's heartbeat! Our little baby was 7 weeks old.

I was so elated after this scan. It was really there, there was really a baby!

Around this time I started to develop quite bad morning sickness. I didn't enjoy it, but I saw it as a good sign of a healthy pregnancy. Every morning I vomited, and sometimes during the day too. I began to develop ongoing hunger, and began to carry snacks with me everywhere I went. It was hard to hide it, especially at work.

Sometimes the sickness was so bad, I just had to cry. It can wear you down, that constant unwell feeling. Then I would feel guilty about hating the sickness, as wasn't this what I had wanted to badly? It took a while for me to reconcile that I could feel both annoyed at the sickness, and at the same time oh so glad it was there.

Having had prior miscarriages, I tried not to be obsessive, but I can't lie, I was. I would feel anxious when I wasn't nauseous, I would often check for blood. The fear is not a nice place to be in. I tried to just let it go, but I couldn't. 

From about 7 weeks I did have a little bleeding probably about once a week. Let me tell you, as someone whose prior miscarriages started this way, this was not at all fun. Seeing blood would make me so upset, angry and fearful. I was so, so afraid and there was nothing I could do about it. I just had to ride with the emotions and hope and pray the bleeding would go away (it did.)

Through my early weeks I knew of a few friends who were early pregnant too, who lost their babies to miscarriage. I was so, so heartbroken for them because I know that pain, and I know that fear. I prayed for them and cried for them. Miscarriage seems so unfair. Their experiences fueled my fear that I would miscarry this baby too, so I had to work through that.

Each night and every morning (and often in between) I would pray, thanking God for this baby, and praying for his protection. I went to a conference in Auckland during this time, and someone who had experienced miscarriage also talked about the moment she realised that God loved her babies more than she ever could. This was a revelation for me, and took a bit of the stress away. Realising that God loves this baby more than I ever will helped me to relax a bit.

At 9 weeks I went for another scan. I had been bleeding a bit, and so again was fearful about what they might find. But again, I saw a lovely baby and a strong heartbeat. This time I was able to see baby wriggling around! Which was so amazing. I have a picture, but it is a bit blurry.

The head is at the left, the body is the C shaped looking blur in the middle of the screen.

So, the days began to tick away. The weeks felt incredibly slow. But, I decided to see everyday as a victory. Everyday as getting closer to that magic 12 weeks mark. (I know bad things can still happen after 12 weeks. But I knew I would feel better after 12 weeks as the chance of miscarriage is the so, so much lower.)

I joined a private group on Facebook for ladies having babies in March 14. It has been so great to share the journey with others. It really reinforced for me that we all experience pregnancy differently! I found out a few other friends are pregnant too, and it's been so nice to have chats with people about it.

I watched 'One born every minute' and began to believe that will be me. I would cry at the look on the parents faces being held their precious newborn. Even thinking about it makes me tear up (pregnancy hormones!).

Every day I believed with more and more faith that this baby was the one, that I would meet him/her in March.

And then- boom- at 11 weeks 4 days I started bleeding quite heavily. It went on for several days, and it really stressed me out. At times I really believed it was the end, and I was so upset. It was a good thing my scan was only a few days later. Going into the scan, again I didn't know what to think. I didn't know whether to hope. But amazingly, all was ok! Matt and I were so relieved/thankful/awe-struck/happy and all those good emotions at once.

I know this looks like just another baby scan to you, but this is the best photo ever to me!

Little baby feet! Oh, they kill me. Already wanna kiss them.

So, all seems well with the baby, and we saw it wriggling around heaps. It's so weird to know that baby is alive and well and having a good old time in there, and yet I can't feel it at all.

In the scan I found out I have a low placenta which might explain the bleeding. Either way, as a girl who is terrified of bleeding in pregnancy, I think I am just going to have to get used to it. This is me, my pregnancy, and I will have to handle whatever may come.

We took so much joy in telling people I'm pregnant. Emails, phone calls, texts, face to face- and we had such an excited response every time. There is nothing else like it- this joy, after so much pain, is such a salve to my soul.

To see such a turn around from my grief a few months ago, is so amazing. I'm constantly thankful. And I know we're not out of the woods yet (although, are parents ever out of the woods?), but we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And starting to really believe we'll hold this little one in our arms in March next year.

We love you baby, and can't wait to meet you!

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